While it is possible to have a free WordPress blog hosted by WordPress, having your site independently hosted is superior as it allows you to use the full range of plugins that are available. For a casual blog this may not be necessary, but it is vital for higher orders of functionality. So you need to get your WordPress web domain registration taken care of up front.
Hosting and your domain go hand-in-hand, and you need a bit of both for the other. You can often use the same service to register your domain and host your site, but I prefer to save a few bucks and use two separate services. I already know who will be hosting my site – that would be HostGator, but you will see more on that when you see my instructions on Getting WordPress Hosted for what to do on that side of the coin.
I like NameCheap because they offer inexpensive WhoIs guard. Without WhoIs guard, anybody can look up who owns the web domain, complete with name, address and phone number. Not exactly what I want on the internet. WhoIs guard will cost about $3 per year for a single domain, but is free for the first year (at the time of this writing).
When you arrive at NameCheap, put your mouse on the Domains option on the welcome page, and a submenu appears. Click the Register a Domain option.
On the next page you will see a box where you can enter in the web domain name that you want. I chose to try and get electricguitars.com. Note that “.com” is the default selection, and you do not need to type it in.
- This is the results of your search. In this case it tells me that my choice of domain names in unavailable, and gives me the option to search for another one.
- This section displays alternates with popular extensions. In this case they are all taken as well. Note the Whois link on the right side of the table. Click on that link and you’ll see the kind of information that is available on domain registrants. (Whois.com actually is much more readable however).
- The suggestions area can be useful. The system takes some guesses at what you are looking for and offers up some ideas of its own. Very hit or miss I have found, but when you get a good one it saves you the work of figuring one out on your own.
- Premium domains are names that somebody has tied up that they are offering for sale. Personally I think that regular price for a name that is 95% what I want is better than a few hundred for an exact match and I really cannot imagine where I’d look to the premiums.
When you find a domain name that you want, you simply click the “add to cart” button that will appear next to your search term (in oval #1 in the image above). Once you have reviewed your cart you just click the “checkout” button, which will bring you to an account screen. If you do not have an account you will have to register and provide contact information, which is merely a matter of following the instructions and providing the requested information.
From here it is a matter of a simple shopping cart transaction, and you own the domain name. You have completed your web domain registration and now can move on to selecting a hosting provider.
Remember: You have to come back to change your name server after you have arranged for hosting. Luckily there is a guide on how to move your domain name to your host do that on this site.
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